Paid to Kill (1954)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama

Paid to Kill (1954) Poster

A failed business deal forces James Nevill to blackmail his weak-willed friend into murdering him so that his wife can collect his insurance, but circumstances suddenly change.


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28 March 2015 | dougdoepke
Better Than Usual Lippert
Looks like budget-minded Lippert productions got more bang for their buck in England than in the US. This is a well-produced crime drama, with a tight script and some good touches. Nevill's (Clark) a not very likable business bigshot, (note that he treats his board of directors with uncalled for abruptness). Trouble is his latest big deal is failing, so, in desperation, he arranges his own death. That way his wife Andrea can collect insurance and be taken care of. His plan is to hire associate Paul to do the job. But surprise, the business deal suddenly goes through and Nevill's vindicated. Now he's got to stop Paul from carrying out his part. Nonetheless, it appears that Paul's gone away. Yet, surprise, somebody really is trying to kill Nevill. But if it's not Paul, who is it and why.

Clark delivers an exemplary performance. Notice his subtle facial expressions to fit the mood. There're some good touches, like the suspenseful father in the park or the colorfully blustery Hyson, neither of which affects the plot but does add atmosphere. And catch that very last shot, suggesting that Nevill's obsession is not yet spent, despite the attempts to kill him, while poor Joan comes trailing after. It also suggests a sneaky subtext that might otherwise go unnoticed amid the murder plots. To me, the movie's much better than expected for a Lippert production. The movie's got mystery, suspense, and atmosphere, plus Clark's motivated turn. So catch it if you can.

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